Greetings fellow fortune cookie lovers! It’s that time again: a fortune cookie has inspired a post!
If you’re new here: welcome! If you’d like to know what all this fortune cookie talk is about, please see this post.
Okay, let's get to it. Today's fortune was sent in by a reader:
“Enthusiasm is contagious. Not having enthusiasm is also contagious.”I don't know about you, but this reminds me to be mindful of how I react to things in front of others.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone told you something they were excited for but you didn't share their enthusiasm? I'll give you an example of a reaction I recently received:
I told people I was excited for a road trip I was going to be taking. My husband wasn't able to go with me, unfortunately, but I was still excited to be going by myself. I enjoy driving and exploring and doing cool things, whether alone or in a group. But when I told people my plans, I was asked by more than one person, "Aren't you afraid to be a woman traveling alone?"
No. I'm not.
Should I be?
(The answer is still "no," in case you were wondering.)
Try not to be a dream-killer by your lack of enthusiasm for something. The person who just excitedly told you their dream, their desire, their new project at work, or their plans for an upcoming vacation...they're counting on you to SUPPORT them. They’re TRUSTING you when they share this info with you. They're happy and want you to share in their joy! Don’t dash their hopes or be less than receptive.
Even if you think something may not be the best idea, be mindful of how you give feedback. Try to do so in a neutral way, without attaching judgment to your comments. Avoid negative or disempowering language.
Or maybe your reaction is because you're a little bit jealous? Or maybe you just aren't that interested. I suppose those are reasons for a less-than-enthusiastic reaction, too.
Whether your negative reaction is due to fear, jealousy, or disinterest, it's time for us to examine the cause from within ourselves.
Since this blog is all about disrupting negativity and injecting positivity, let's take a moment and consider a scenario in which you acted less than favorably toward someone’s news. Consider how you could have reacted differently. Consider how you could have supported them and shared in their joy, or if you had concerns, how you could have reframed your follow-up questions to them. (I'm doing this too, by the way. I'm sure I've reacted negatively to someone, at some point. We're all human.)
If you want to apologize to anybody, that's some super-advanced adulting right there, but it's also enough to resolve not to do this to anyone in future. It can take a little practice to stop having negative reactions, so be patient with yourself as you notice your internal reactions, figure out where they're coming from, and address them.
And on the flip side: if you’re on the receiving end of someone’s lack of enthusiasm, please don’t let it get to you! Someone's negative reaction has more to do with them than with you, most likely. Many people have knee-jerk reactions and don't even realize they're doing it. Someone may even be happy for you on some level, but something else gets the best of them and they don't express themselves elegantly. Try to understand when you are on the receiving end of someone’s lack of enthusiasm that it is not necessarily a judgment on you or your project/dream/what-have-you. Try not to be hurt—but if you are hurt, find a way to let that person know in a way that garners a discussion rather than seeming like an admonishment of their behavior.
We can break the cycle instead of propagating it by choosing not to react negatively, ourselves, to someone else's negativity.
Whatever it is you're enthusiastic about, don't curb it! USE IT! Let that enthusiasm propel you to keep going and do the things that make you happy in life.
Have a great week! 🐝